Welcome To The New Normal

So I was having a conversation yesterday with a friend, comparing our “great recession” battle scars and talking about how we are moving forward. After laying out my plans for the next five years, I asked what his plan was and what he said just floored me.

“I am just keeping my head down till all this passes over and we get back to normal”.

Readers, if you think like my friend does I have some news for you. This IS the new normal. In fact, we will be lucky to maintain the level we are at.

This was never a normal recession brought on by supply and demand forces. This was brought on by shortsightedness and delusion on the part of business, government, and individuals. It is what happens when Money acts like a demon and masters its handlers rather than the other way around.

I remember in 1999 when the Glass-Stegall Act was repealed at how giddy the business world was. My boss at AIG however was not happy. He explained to me the implications as best he could ( I was just a tech) and I replied “It sounds like Gambling“. He said “It IS gambling. The only difference is that a Casino is better regulated than we will be, and they have to have the money to actually pay out if someone wins big.” He left the company shortly thereafter, but man was he right.

Since then, the financial world basically went freaking insane. people that made 40k a year were buying half million dollar homes, assured that they could “flip” them before their ARM rate went up. Companies became overleveraged to a laughable degree. Financial dealings became so complex that no one even knew what was bundled into what when they bought it. Companies became so de-regulated that they could basically do anything short of selling meth to make money. But even that was not enough, so a Shadow Banking system developed beyond the reach of any single state monitoring system.

Honestly, the very fact that we have a “Shadow Banking System”, should have been an indicator that something was terribly wrong. I mean, “The Shadow Bank” sounds like the antagonist in a James Bond movie.

But de-regulation and condoned irresponsibility were not enough. Oh no. Banks and lenders had to get predetory. Instead of marketing to people with good credit, Credit Card companies figured out they could make more in fees than they could in actual business, so they targeted people with bad credit or no credit. Banks followed suit and started manipulating the timing of deposits and checks to create overdrafts. When they got busted doing that, they just automatically signed people in to “overdraft protection”, so if you used your debit card to buy a cup of coffee and the funds were not there, rather than decline the card and give you the option of using cash, they would cover the coffee for a small fee of $35. People were racking up hundreds of dollars in fees thinking that if they did not have enough money on the card, it would just not go through.

It just keeps rolling on. Now we find that the Libor rate has been fraudulently manipulated not just by one bank, but by several. And, my personal favorite for the summer, JP Morgan Chase makes oodles of cash off of Food Stamps.

As bad as things are here, you know what? The US is actually a freaking bright spot in the world economy!

The Eurozone is just now figuring out that just because Greece and Portugal (and Spain, and Italy, and Ireland…) share the same currency as Germany, that will not magically make them as fiscally responsible as Germany.

You might think China is a bright spot with a booming economy, but by the time the Eurocrisis settles, the world is going to feeling the effects of Chinas economic slow down. They are running out of people to export to, and their domestic consumption is not going to sustain growth.

Couple all that with the economic burden of soon having 30% of the population past retirement age living into their 90s and 100s and I think you can see, this is not going to just perk up.

The message that I want to get accross is this:

1. You are living in the new economy. THIS is what you have to work with. Work with it now before it gets worse, because it can.

2. The people at the top are cheaters and liars and play dirty. You might need to do the same. Use magic. Invent something. Be clever and mobile if you can. Stash gold in Singapore and invest in businesses in Mongolia. Hustle. Christ, lie if you have to.

I know a group of people that formed a company that does nothing but pay for an address and an answering service that acts like you are calling a large office. They can put “VP of Marketing” on their resume, and when it gets a brief lookup, there is an address, a phone when someone calls, and other people that will return reference calls. Shared illusion.

Get clever and get cracking.

About Inominandum

Author. Sorcerer. Consultant. I have 30 plus years of experience making magic a reality for myself, my clients, and my students. For a complete background go to www.strategicsorcery.net
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33 Responses to Welcome To The New Normal

  1. Yeah, I worry about those people who think that things are going to go back to “normal.” Especially when I realize that a lot of them believe that the 1950s represent what is normal…the 1950s were a special time when we had no competition on the global front. Personally, I have been watching the economy slide since I started working in 1984. Honestly, I think people should prepare for the worst.

    • Anna Greenflame says:

      Yes. I entered in the work world in the early/mid-1980s, and what is going on now is a continuation of it. That bright blip of the 1990s was the anomaly.

  2. RO says:

    This is one of the more lucid posts on the subject I’ve seen in a long, long time.

  3. This is why I follow your blog, as well as John Michael Greer’s whom some say is a “doomer”. Yet we also have the ecological and resource-depleted side of things to look at. I agree that magick and hacking tricks, like the one listed above can help, because this is the base metal we have to work with.

  4. Yvonne says:

    I thank you for this good and timely post and I hope that you included some of this background material and perspective in your money book. (I guess will buy it and see, LOL) Anyone who thinks that the current economic system is sustainable needs to prepare for the new Normal NOW. On the other hand, since I am not a doomer like Archdruid Greer, I wonder if you can say a few words about how one engages strategically with the new economy with magickal competence and lots of fun?

    • Wicklow says:

      I don’t see how Greer is a “Doomer”, seems more of a pragmatist to me. Unless you consider a future without air conditioning to be a doom.

      • Yvonne says:

        hmmm…let’s see, it is 98 degrees outside now, and I do, happily, have air conditioning.

        Yeah, I would say a future without that looks pretty bleak.

      • John says:

        Uh….he believes that industrial society is coming to an end and our civilization is going to collapse….if true that means world wide war, starvation, and mass death on a scale never seen before…pretty much the dictionary definition of doom.

        Whether you agree or disagree with him — and I don’t although I think he’s brilliant — he’s out there preaching immanent doom.

      • Al Billings says:

        He’s a doomer because he gleefully rubs his hands while talking about the “inevitable” destruction of situation while looking forward to it. He’s been that way since college.

      • Ngawang says:

        I, for one, am not to enamored with the pre-industrial lifestyle. I’ve heard plenty enough old family stories about life in rural Mississippi and a life of backbreaking work and early death from accidents or preventable illnesses where people are old at 50 and babies aren’t named until they’re a month old b/c of infant mortality… doesn’t appeal to me.

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  6. Just to be clear, I personally don’t think Greer is a doomer. I do think magic can help us to deal with the multiple-systemic issues facing our planet, in certain ways. For instance, using Jupiterian or Fertility magics to have a more bountiful garden, or to help heal damage incurred on landscapes due to industrial pollution. Of course the magic will be combined with the mundane efforts, as any good strategic sorcerer would do. I’ve got some experiments along this line in my own backyard garden.

    Magic, hacking /social engineering & other things will all be useful skills in navigating an increasingly turbulent future. Perhaps one of the best things magic, and meditation, can do is help keep you centered while in your own sElf where others may get caught up in the media-ted polarisations of people so typical in America.

  7. runeworker says:

    I would rather use spells and science to make the garden grow.

    • Yvonne says:

      Hear, hear! Magick in the service of sustainability!! That’s what I am talking about! Screw all this doom! Let’s have some fun and love while we move forward! ONE

  8. Richard Norris says:

    So far as it goes for peak oil, which is one of the main topics in JMGs posts, there is still no solution for the problem in sight. When it comes to him rubbing his hands together gleefully at the thought of the coming collapse, oh please. For such a supposed misanthrope, he has gone to great lengths developing ways to help people transition from energy-intensive lifestyles to ways of life that are much more sustainable. Just check out the green wizards forum for a relevant example. Its nice seeing someone lead people out of a burning building instead of letting them leap off of the top, huh?

  9. inominandum says:

    Ok. I am fine with mentioning JMGreer and his ideas in context of this post. However, i specifically avoided mentioning environmental connections because i did not want to derail the conversation.

    Sadly it has derailed into a pro or anti JMG conversation which is even worse.

    No more discussion of this please.

    I Please make

  10. Ron says:

    We don’t know how long this “new normal” will last. To many of us, it feels as if it will go on forever. But think of someone chronically unemployed in the 1930s. I bet it was easy to believe that time was the new normal with no end in sight. That normal did end though and the economy recovered. The present economic problems can be solved once the right fiscal choices are made.

    • Inominandum says:

      I think you are confusing the “new normal” with “permanent state”.

      In the case of the 1930’s, that was indeed a norm. It lasted a LONG time and was not a recession brought on purely by supply and demand. It was not something that the market would have corrected on its own. It took massive policy change and a shift in how businesses thought about employees.

      The new normal will end when there is another great industrial development coupled with sound fiscal policy. But for now this is the new norm.

  11. ioannis says:

    The Eurozone is just now figuring out that just because Greece and Portugal (and Spain, and Italy, and Ireland…) share the same currency as Germany, that will not magically make them as fiscally responsible as Germany.


  12. Amonjin says:

    I’m a bit late to this conversation but I wanted to weight in. I’ve been in the world of finance for over a decade now.

    This post is really good and there is one specific item in this post that I feel most of the commentators failed to pick up (or maybe they did but decided not to make a point of).

    There seems to be a lot of discussions about the end of the world, the horrible nature of our current economic circumstances and so on, but one message in this post rings clear. “Do something!” You have a choice to do something about it.

    The end will only come because we let it come (barring acts of god). Our financial situation is the way it is because we neglect our finances. We all have a choice to act out and change what we see as scary or inevitable or bad. Start a business, go back to school, sling some mojo or start up a protest against the man. Do it all! But do something.

    Don’t give up your power to circumstances, or the man, or to some faceless fucking corporation. Be bold and doing something about it.

    At least that is what I got out of this post…just sayin

  13. Excellent post, Jason. What I get out of this is the very core of what being a magician means; the power to control the course of your own life, success, and to overcome any circumstance.

    To be a magician means to not be a victim of circumstance or environment, but to rise above and transform your life.

    What you have outlined above is perfect; it exhorts to not let the financial situation hinder you, but rather adjust to the reality of this new world and get up and actually do something about it.

    Practical and inspiring.

  14. NOVA says:

    I was right! I thought the banks were playing games with the timing of deposits and the ‘processing’ of checks and debits, resulting in lots of over-draft fees, so I haven’t used a checking account in years!
    Even my Credit Union, in which I’ve had a savings account for over 25 yrs, played more games with a checking account I opened there, than did my previous bank.
    So I’ve been keeping my money in my C.U. Savings account. I take out cash weekly for cash needs – groceries, gas, pet supplies – and monthly pay ALL bills with USPS Money Orders.
    > USPS-M.O.’s are the cheapest and most widely accepted.

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